Essay Sample on Cultural Artifacts

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  537 Words
Date:  2022-07-17


Artifacts are items made by human beings with artistic representation. On this basis, my cultural artifacts of choice which will be my primary focus are the Aboriginal Rock Paintings. These are cultural artifacts that were made by the Aboriginal community of Canada. The Aboriginal community represents the indigenous inhabitants of Canada who still reside within Canadian boundaries. This community-engaged in architecture for different ceremonies, agricultural activities, and their settlement was permanent. Through the permanent settlements, they were able to establish their own culture and also make their artifacts including the Aboriginal rock paintings

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The Aboriginal rock paintings fall in the rock art category of pictographs. This is because they involve markings, drawings, and writings on the surface of rocks. The paintings involved the use of the fingers and red ochre in making signings. Through these markings, the community passes different societal, religious and spiritual messages (Klassen, Michael 49). In Canada, rock art has been associated with shamanism and pursuit for helping spirits. In shamanism, a religious custodian referred to as the Shaman in Aboriginal community performs different religious practices. This is a clear indication of religious and spiritual beliefs within the culture.

Most of the aboriginal rock art paintings are found in the Canadian Shield waterways with more than 490 pictograph sites (Klassen, Michael 42). There are images of animals and humans evident on limestone rocks made by the aboriginal people and are dated back to the Ice Age. The categories in which the spiritual world is ordered are represented by how symbols are organised in painting sites. The use of Thunderbirds in the paintings constitutes the superior class in the spiritual world. On the other hand, the animals on or under the world, like humans and horned snake represent the inferior category in the spirit world. These inferior and superior levels can also be used to infer the power relations in the aboriginal community.


Making the paintings on the rocks shows that the aboriginal people had a definite interest in the natural resources as part of the environment (Smith 26). The aboriginal paintings are of significance in that they give the indigenous Canadian community a social identity and link them to their ancestors. This community can identify itself with the paintings as their own by making. The paintings have also served a tremendous spiritual role to the society for instance, through shamanism. The aboriginal culture has also given rise to indigenous art industry with well improved artistic work. There has been the development of films, clothing designs and paintings linked to the aboriginal artifacts. This is an indication that people still embrace cultures and work in promoting it.

Works Cited

Klassen, Michael. "Icon and narrative in transition: Contact-period rock-art at Writing-On-Stone, southern Alberta, Canada." The archaeology of rock-art (1998): 42-72.

Arsenault, Daniel, and Dagmara Zawadzka. "Spiritual places: Canadian Shield rock art within its sacred landscape." Rock art and sacred landscapes. Springer, New York, NY, 2014. 117-137.

Creese, John L. "Algonquian rock art and the landscape of power." Journal of Social Archaeology 11.1 (2011): 3-20.

Chippindale, Christopher, and Paul SC Tacon, eds. The archaeology of rock-art. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Smith, M. A. (2015). A reflection on First Nations in their boreal homelands in Ontario: Between a rock and a caribou. Conservation and Society, 13(1), 23-38.

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Essay Sample on Cultural Artifacts. (2022, Jul 17). Retrieved from

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